Chiropractic and Migraine Headaches
Migraine headaches are vascular headaches, arising from sudden dilation of the blood vessels of the head. No one knows exactly what causes migraine headaches, though the basic mechanism, involving both the nervous and vascular systems, is well studied. Migraines can be triggered by hormonal changes, foods, smells, weather changes, stress, and many other triggers. The headaches often begin with symptoms other than pain, such as visual auras, nausea or sensitivity to light and sound. The headache that follows can vary in intensity, but is often severe. Many migraine sufferers have found over-the-counter pain medications to be ineffective, and resign themselves to wait out the migraine event in a dark, quiet room. A variety of pharmaceutical drugs have been developed to treat migraines, but none of them work for everyone, and many have unwanted side effects.
Chiropractic can play an important role in treating migraines. Clinical studies, though still preliminary, suggest that chiropractic may have a measurable role in the prevention of migraines. Through manipulation and adjustments of the spine and neck, migraines can often be reduced or prevented. Nerves control vascular system tension, and chiropractic adjustments reduce irritation of the nervous system beginning with its roots in the spine, also improving vascular flow.
How Will a Doctor of Chiropractic Treat Headaches?
The fundamental technique of chiropractic, spinal manipulation, is used improve spinal alignment, reduce nerve irritation, relax muscle tension and improve vascular flow. Trigger point therapy, massage and other adjunct therapies may also be employed to broaden the treatment plan. Finally, the chiropractor will often recommend exercise, stretching and changes in posture, or teach relaxation techniques.
For preventive care, most chiropractors will also provide advice on nutritional supplements, vitamins, herbs, and diet toward the development of a long-term wellness plan to prevent future headaches.
Chiropractic care can provide a holistic, comprehensive treatment plan for chronic headaches, giving patients an opportunity to put an end to what can be a very stubborn type of pain and a considerable improvement in quality of life.